Jason Evert to speak here

Jason and Crystalina Evert.
Photo: chastityproject.com

Renown US Catholic champion of chastity Jason Evert is coming to Singapore next January to give a series of talks to various target audiences.

The much-sought after speaker, who together with his wife, Crystalina, has spoken about the virtue of chastity in many countries to more than one million people, including during World Youth Days in Sydney, Madrid, and two months ago, in Kraków.

In his one-day visit on Jan 14, the Archdiocesan Commission for the Family has lined up three sessions appealing to different target segments: teenagers, young adults and parents. More details will be released soon.

What is so special about the speaker

Jason, who will be travelling to Singapore without Crystalina because she is expecting their seventh child, focuses on educating the young on the significance of upholding values that reflect chastity, especially in the sexually driven world we live in today – but in a most “cool” way. In other words, his pitch and language are what make him stand out from those who speak on this typically staid topic.

He holds within, a deep-rooted belief that the world we live in has been missing the point by going into pornography and glorifying the notion of pre-marital sex. Jason earned his stripes in his field of public speaking by achieving his Master of

Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, with undergraduate degrees in both theology and counselling, while also attaining a minor in philosophy.

What makes Jason Evert so successful in his talks on the Christian duty to observe chastity is the way he is able to connect with the young. Jason’s demeanour and use of language have qualified him as someone ‘worth listening to’ and an approachable figure who can be looked to for advice. His understanding of the subject has touched many teens and young couples in the United States and has even compelled them to take a stand and observe abstinence in accordance with the Lord’s teachings.

Having had to deal with the typical temptations that were rife in an impressionable teenager’s routine himself, Jason is well equipped with the appropriate words to help teens internalise and relate to with ease. Jason’s is a story that is not far-fetched and nothing that associates with unrealistic expectations.

Love in action

In 2003, Jason assumed the role of living testimony to his lifelong motto and got married to Crystalina. Together, they have preached their gospel of chastity around the world to tremendous success and recognition, as validated by their numerous guest appearances on mainstream media channels such as Fox News, MSNBC, the BBC, and EWTN. Their supposedly unpopular message of chastity has almost miraculously taken a foothold in the various media outlets through such interviews which just goes on to testify that the power of love is true and must be preserved for it to be genuinely appreciated for what the Lord has meant for us.

Jason and Crystalina have also collaborated in having their books published. They have co-authored over 10 books to this day, including How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul, If you Really Loved Me, and Raising Pure Teens.

By Justin Chua

In this monthly column, we feature Catholic personalities and their favourite memories of being ‘family’. In this issue, our national sports hero Joseph Schooling shares his precious domestic moments…

Joseph with his parents, Colin and May, when he arrived at Changi airport from Rio on Aug 15. Photo: Paul Goh

“My favourite memory of being family is spending quality time with my parents. We love the time spent eating, talking and watching movies together at home. Home is where the heart is and the love for each other as a family means a lot to me,” said Singapore’s only Olympic Gold medallist.

As an only child, he is naturally close to his parents, May and Colin, and the family has always treasured the familial intimacy. So in 2009, when the the family made the decision to send Joseph to the United States to study and train more seriously, it was with mixed sentiments. But as supportive parents who saw Joseph’s passion and potential to excel in the sport, Colin and May enrolled the 13-year-old into the Bolles School in Florida.

It wasn’t easy for May, who recalled, “His absence affected me, but I entrusted him to God’s care.” It involved much sacrifice, but it turned out well.

In order to achieve his winning time of 50.39 seconds, which is a national, Asian, and Olympic record, you can imagine the kind of intensive training regimen and disciplined lifestyle that Joseph had to go through. But despite the daily rigours and his academic commitments at the University of Texas at Austin, the 21-year-old parishioner of Church of the Holy Family still finds time and space for God.

“God, together with my guardian angel, is always with me in good times and in bad times and when I seek peace and solace in moments of loneliness and in moments of need,” said the national hero, who is back in the US training for more achievements.

When asked where God was in this epic story, Colin echoed the sentiments of his wife and son: “God is everywhere…He lives within us. And in turn, this expresses love – for the family, for others.”

Catholic singer-songwriter Corrinne May shares her thoughts on various family moments and matters being a daughter, sister, wife and mother in Singapore and Los Angeles in this monthly column.

Delightful union of the Divine Office prayers

A month after her stay with the sisters, Corrinne still remembers the sweet gentle strains of the Visitation Sisters singing the Divine Office.

It all started with an invitation; an invitation to attend the State Luncheon hosted by the U.S State Department in honour of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to the US in early August this year.

I decided to fly over to Washington, D.C. to attend this fancy-schmancy event and thought it’d be a great idea to combine my visit to Washington with a spiritual retreat at a monastery. I called Georgetown Visitation Monastery.

Sr. Mada-Anne received my call and after a 20 minute chat where she shared with me about her order’s founders, who aptly were St. Francis De Sales (patron saint of writers!) and St. Jane Chantal, she told me she’d speak to her Mother Superior about my stay and soon I was confirmed to stay with the Visitation Sisters at their monastery for four days.

When I arrived, it was close to 8.30pm on a Sunday evening and the sisters were getting ready for bedtime. Sr. Mada-Anne, in a very motherly way, gave me a tour within what seemed to be labyrinthine corridors and levels within the beautiful brownstone building.

After inquiring as to my plans for the next few days, she told me that I would have to get her permission before I left the monastery during the day and to let her know when I would be planning to be back at the monastery.

The thought of Maria in The Sound of Music crossed my mind as I quickly put to rest plans to wander around Washington, D.C. and even to take a roadtrip to Manhattan to eat at my favourite pastry shop. And though I was looking forward to my stay in the monastery, at that particular moment, I felt as if I was a bird trapped.

During her recent trip to the US, Corrinne stayed with the Visitation Sisters at the Georgetown Visitation Monestary for four days.

But the Lord works in mysterious ways.

I woke up early the next morning to join the sisters in their morning prayer and at breakfast. The only skirt that I had packed in my luggage was the same dark navy blue colour that the Visitation Sisters wore for their habit, so I decided to don my ‘habit’ of the navy skirt, paired with a t-shirt while I was there within the monastery. It was comforting to somehow not have to worry about what to wear, what to eat, where to sleep. The Lord had taken care of that.

Despite having rented a Toyota Prius, and initially thinking about heading to my favourite pastry shop in NYC, an eight-hour round-trip drive…. Being the wanderer that I am, and loving to linger outside to just look and stare and think….I found myself instead wanting to root myself at the feet of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

I was Martha, being guided to being Mary; and gradually, I found myself longing to hear His voice within the prayers of the Divine Office every day, to hear His laughter and joy within the voices of the Visitation Sisters, and to adore His Heart within the Tabernacle that was in the small chapel located just steps away from my bedroom. It was heartwarming having Jesus as my neighbour.

I would creep along the wooden floors from my bedroom to the little chapel at night just before bedtime, so as to spend some time with Him.

During one of the evenings, Sr. Mada-Ann invited me to sing for the sisters. Singing for them felt so beautifully profound. I found that instead of ministering to them through my music, I was being ministered to, through their peaceful, joyful listening.

Although it has been a month since I was at the monastery, I can still hear within my heart, the sweet gentle strains of the Visitation Sisters singing the Divine Office every morning and mid-afternoon. The beauty of the prayers moved me to buy myself a copy of the Liturgy of the Hours prayer book that the nuns used.

Now whenever I read the prayers in the Divine Office, I feel connected with the prayers of the Visitation Sisters. I miss them very much, but am glad that we are all One in the Body of Christ, and being so, we can never be too far apart from each other.